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Nigeria plans to build West Africa’s biggest hydropower plant

The Benue River in southeast Nigeria is a major tributary of the River Niger (Public Domain)
Nigeria has approved plans to build a $3bn hydropower scheme in the southeast state of Benue, the Reuters news agency reports.

Government spokesperson Laolu Akande said yesterday that the National Council on Privatisation had approved the scheme, which he said would be the largest of its kind in West Africa, with an output of more than 1.6GW.

The project, which began life as an unsolicited proposal, will be procured as a public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, subject to its compliance with law including the public procurement act.

The decision follows a meeting of the project delivery team in September and official reviews of the project’s outline business case.

Akande did not say when construction would start on the scheme, or which companies would be financing and building it.

Authorities said last week the government would grant a concession to operate its $1.3bn Zungeru hydropower plant, funded by a Chinese loan, which is expected to enter service at the beginning of next year.

Nigeria, which has long suffered from electricity shortfalls, presently has 2.1GW of installed hydropower capacity.

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